International Coastal Symposium 2016

ISC 2016 was held in Sydney last week at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Coogee. I was privileged to present a keynote address on Coastal Management and to lead a local field trip. It was a great opportunity to meet old friends engaged in coastal science and to hear from many younger folk who are treading the path to a career on the coast.

Ana and her team (pc: ICS 2016)

I thank the organising team under the leadership of Ana Vila-Concejo for a fascinating 5 days plus time on field trips. Ana did a fantastic job in bringing together this team, many of whom have an association with School of Geosciences at Sydney University. This was the 14th ICS. It is a two year event started in 1990 in Denmark by Charlie Finkl of Florida and Per Bruun. Charlie has been at the head of the Coastal Education and Research Foundation and through that Foundation has driven the Journal of Coastal Research to be a key journal for coastal science. He provides the international stimulus to the ISC, but unfortunately health conditions prevented him from coming to Sydney. Quite a number of participants have published papers in JCR and after this meeting I am sure many more will do so.

ISC brings together quite a range of coastal scientists. Around 400 attended this time. What I found amazing was the range of countries represented from every continent. It was great to hear people speak about coastal problems from the Baltic to the Black Seas, for the UK to the USA, from island nations to the coast of Brazil,  and from Korea, China, India, Bangladesh and many other places. It was an ideal opportunity to meet and greet and for Australian coastal folk to speak about their work.

Andy Short (pc: ICS 2016)

Andy Short started the ball rolling with an incredible account of the development of the Coastal Studies Unit at Sydney University since the arrival of Don Wright in 1984. He described the work of many of the staff and students and in particular demonstrated his passion and long-standing commitment to beach studies. Former members of CSU were able to outline their contributions. Many papers at ISC had a strong coastal process flavour and what was exciting to me was to hear from those who were in a position to use new techniques to measure and model processes on beaches, dunes, reefs and other environments. Geomorphic history was not forgotten and again the use of new techniques is showing how much more there is to learn about the coast.

I was enthralled by the keynote from Janice Lough of AIMS. She was able to illustrate in vivid terms the problems facing coral reefs especially in Australia. Here she raised the spectre of increased damage caused by global warming. Others touched on the theme of impacts of climate change making us more aware of the severity of coastal change in many areas of the world. In my address later in the week, I was able to highlight the relationship of science to management in the so-called new climate era.

Bruce Thom providing a passionate keynote speech (pc: ICS 2016)

ISC offers a great way for established and new coastal scientists to network and develop their ideas and techniques. It is anticipated that many of the papers presented will find their way into an issue of JCR. I look forward to that happening. But most important I see a great future for coastal research given the depth of interest and commitment to science by so many. Let us hope that there will always be the institutional interest and capacity to foster coastal research and education, but that is another story!

Again thanks to Ana and her team for a rewarding and enjoyable week.


ASC representation at ICS 2016 (pc: ICS 2016)


Symposium drinks, dinner and dancing on the harbour (pc: ICS 2016)


ICS 2018 to be held in South Korea (pc: ICS 2016)